The Irrawaddy is the crucial artery which connects Burma’s main cities, snakes through its glorious countryside and reaches as far as the border with China. Cruising along it is not only an incredibly leisurely way of getting from A to B but an enriching experience too. Just in case you needed convincing, we’ve compiled our top five reasons to cruise in Burma.
Once off limits to visitors, Myanmar has recently dusted off the cobwebs of its hidden past, opening its doors to reveal a country steeped in cultural splendour, natural wonder and historical intrigue. For us, Burma is the land of lotus flowers, horse drawn carts, traditional tea houses and an exquisitely leisurely pace of life; Burma is a land where a traditional way of life prevails. The landscape is a glittering exhibition of gilded pagodas, the culture is an intoxicating blend of influences from across Asia and its cities are abuzz with spiritualism.
Magnificent temples abound in Burma, dotting the horizons of its verdant landscapes up and down the country. From the temple studded lands of Bagan to the glittering pagodas of Yangon, the holy sites of Burma are simply mind boggling both in size and beauty. Whilst stupas are solid temples, said to house remains of Buddhas or monks, Pagodas are open to enter for worship. Having evolved from the shape of a stupa, the two often look similar yet their significance is marked by their history.
Aside from its stunning scenery, fascinating history and amazing culture, Burma is all about its people. They are some of the kindest and most compassionate people you will ever meet. One story that we can’t tell enough is that of the Green Hill Valley Elephant Camp in Burma. At Green Hill Valley, love and care for animals is at the very heart of everything they do. We interviewed Htun and Maw, founders of the camp, to give you an insight into their commitment to caring for these magnificent animals.
We have a selection of guidebooks to some of our most popular countries in Asia. Written by our specialists, they detail destination information, a wildlife guide, some suggested itineraries and plenty more to inspire your holiday. Fill in the form below and if you live in UK, your guidebook will arrive by post within the next couple of days. For those who live abroad, we will send this via a PDF to your email.
Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake
Best for: Culture History, Highlights, Imagine Favourites
From the awe-inspiring temples of Bagan to the floating gardens of Inle Lake, this varied and good value itinerary takes in some of Burma’s most iconic sights, ideal for those wishing to explore this enchanting country but are short on time.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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Travelling by both car and plane, this ten day itinerary takes you to discover many of Burma’s most iconic and memorable landmarks. Starting in Burma’s former royal capital of Yangon, head to the dusty plains of Bagan to marvel at its ancient temples before travelling to Mandalay, Burma’s cultural and religious heart. Enjoy a relaxing end to the trip in Inle Lake before finishing back in Yangon. Highlights along the way include the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda, the towering Mount Popa and a longtail boat across the calm waters of Inle Lake.
Days 1 - 3 : Yangon, Burma
Stay at The Chatrium for 2 nights
Upon arrival in Yangon, you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the city. The rest of the day is free to spend how you wish, before enjoying a tour of the city the following day. With your private guide, discover the colonial charm of the downtown area, sip tea at a local teahouse, pick-up some local handicrafts at Scott’s Market and visit the glittering Shwedagon Pagoda.
Day 3 : Flight from Yangon to Bagan
Days 3 - 5 : Bagan, Burma
Stay at Bagan Umbra Hotel for 2 nights
The following day, you will be driven to Yangon’s airport in time to catch a one and a half hour flight to Bagan, an ancient city home to over 2,000 temples which you will spend the rest of the day exploring. As well as visiting some of the most architecturally impressive temples, ascend one of the taller stupas to cast your gaze across the collection, and also visit a local market and lacquerware workshop. On your second day in Bagan, you will travel a short distance outside of Bagan and ascend the steps to the top of Mount Popa, home to a sacred monastery that offers breath-taking views over the surrounding plains.
Day 5 : Flight from Bagan to Mandalay
Days 5 - 7 : Mandalay, Burma
Stay at Rupar Mandalar for 2 nights
On the morning of day five, you will be driven to Bagan’s Nyaung U Airport in time to catch a short 30 minute flight to Mandalay, known to be Burma’s cultural and spiritual heart. After settling into your hotel, spend the afternoon exploring Amararpura with a private guide, a former royal capital home to the iconic U Bein Bridge. The following day, enjoy a private guided tour of the city, visiting sights including the gilded Mahamuni Pagoda, some traditional workshops and Burma’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site before ascending Mandalay Hill in time for sunset.
Day 7 : Flight from Mandalay to Inle Lake
Days 7 - 9 : Inle Lake, Burma
Stay at Pristine Lotus Resort for 2 nights
Leaving the bustling streets behind for the calm waters of Inle Lake, take a short 30 minute flight from Mandalay to Heho, followed by a one hour drive to your hotel on the shores of Inle Lake. The rest of the day is at your leisure to relax and soak up the beautiful scenery, or perhaps strolling through the nearby market town of Nyaung Shwe. The following day presents the opportunity to fully explore the beauty of Inle Lake, with an excursion by longtail boat to see the five gold Buddha images of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the picturesque Pa-oh village of Indein.
Day 9 : Flight from Inle Lake to Yangon
Day 9 - 10 : Yangon, Burma
Stay at The Chatrium for 1 night
Your Burma adventure draws to a close on day nine as you are driven back to Heho Airport in time for your flight back to Yangon. This final afternoon and evening are at your leisure to explore the city as you wish, before you are transferred to Yangon airport the following morning in time for your flight back home, or onto your next destination.
Tailor this holiday to you.
We are experts at designing Asia holidays (we have awards to prove it!), contact us on 020 3141 2850 to start designing your trip.
When to go
The best time to visit Burma is during the dry season from October to April. At this time the warm and sunny days are ideal for sightseeing throughout the country. March sees temperatures start to rise followed by the wet season from June to September. Although monsoons cause some regions shut down during this time, the wet season is well suited for exploring some of Burma's more remote areas on a cruise along the Chindwin or Upper Irrawaddy River.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Mount Popa and Toddy Farm Lunch
Discover the Popa Taung Kalat, a sacred monastery perched on top of a volcanic plug on the southwestern flank of Mount Popa. Discover the legend the surrounds this renowned pilgrimage site and ascend the 777 steps to the top.
Full Day Mandalay City Tour
Spend with day with a local guide exploring the city of Mandalay, visiting sights including the gilded Mahamuni Pagoda, some traditional workshops and Burma’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site before ascending Mandalay Hill in time for sunset.
Full Day Yangon City Tour
Discover the diverse culture and history of Yangon on this full day excursion. Tour the streets of downtown, take a break in a local tea shop and visit glittering pagodas, including Burma's most revered Buddhist monument.
Full Day Inle Lake Tour
Discover the natural beauty and unique lifestyles of Inle Lake. Starting with a longtail boat journey across the river, highlights include a lively morning market, the five gold Buddha images of Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and the picturesque village of Indein.
Bagan Temple Tour
Spend the day exploring a range of sites in Bagan, offering a great overview of the history and culture of this ancient city. Discover some of the more famous temples, some lesser known gems, visit traditional workshops and travel by horsecart.
From $2084 per person
All accommodation and breakfasts
Private and shared transfers
Excursions and activities as per itinerary